Dealing with bereavement

Grief can be devastating, and there’s no right or wrong way to mourn a loved one. But you are not alone. There are people who can support you, and God longs to comfort you.

Help in bereavement:

Grief is a natural process, but it can be devastating. It’s often the most frightening and painful experience we will ever face.

It’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve: we are all different and we mourn our loved ones in our own way.

You may feel a number of emotions after you have lost someone close to you:

  • Shock and numbness. This is usually people’s first reaction to a death, and some people may carry on as if nothing has happened. They can feel disorientated and lost.
  • Overwhelming sadness. The pain of losing someone can be consuming, and it’s very common for people to think they still see or hear the person who has died. This is a way of the brain processing the finality of death.
  • Depression and exhaustion. People can feel that life has no meaning after losing a loved one, and will often be physically tired.
  • Anger. Bereaved people can feel angry – with God, with themselves or with the person who has died. This is a very natural emotion, particularly if there’s a sense that someone has died before their time.
  • Guilt. This is another common emotion, with people feeling somehow responsible for the person’s death or guilty about something they said or didn’t say.

Whatever your emotions, you are not alone. Christians believe God meets us in our grief and sadness, and longs to comfort and restore us. The Bible speaks of life after death.

There are people who can support you as you grieve, who will listen if you want to talk about the person you’ve lost:

  • Care for the Family has a team of people ready to support those who are grieving. In particular, they offer help to young widows and widowers, and bereaved parents.
  • Other specialist bereavement organisations like cruse.org.ukbereavement.co.ukmerrywidow.me.uk or childbereavementuk.org are dedicated to supporting people who have lost someone close to them. Search online to find out more.
  • Your GP or family doctor is likely to offer support – or can point you towards a group or service locally that can listen to you, and help you.
  • Some churches (findachurch.co.uk) run groups for people who are grieving loved ones, or hold counselling sessions. Drop into your local church one day and see what they can offer. If they can’t help, they may be able to point you towards someone who can.
  • Dying Matters is a coalition of 30,000 members across England and Wales which aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life
  • Would you like prayer support? UCB and Premier are charities that can help. Various Catholic prayerlines are also listed here. Samaritans can be reached here.

When someone dies, we have to re-learn how to live in a world that will never be the same again. The length of time it takes to do this varies tremendously: no one can tell you when your grief will lessen.

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